It have been 4 days since I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in the base of the tongue. I first found out on Friday night, and it didn’t quite hit me until Saturday. It has been a rollercoaster ride since then. A battle for the mind to think on what is true. When I read about the possibility of spreading to lymph nodes, the complex surgery, the radiation treatment on your mouth, not being able to eat, or talk…blah blah blah…it didn’t take long to depress me.
Sunday was a little better. At least I was still alive. And I sure have a lot to live for.
On Monday morning I read Don’t Waste your Cancer by John Piper and that really helped me. If you are reading this, I urge you to please read the article by John Piper. I don’t want to waste this pain.
By Monday night I decided I was going to fight this thing. It really helped when my brother-in-law, Bob, talked to me and told me to just focus on today. God has only provided the grace to make it through today, not tomorrow. God has not provided the grace to carry the burden of billions and billions of combinations of things that could happen tomorrow. Only God can handle that burden. So I need to focus on what’s true today. So I went to the gym, and I was encouraged to realize that the rest of my body still feels young.
On Tuesday I started the day discouraged again. I woke up worrying about the many possibilities and dreading the pain of major surgery to my mouth, throat and neck. All I had to do was make it through today. In fact, I just had to make it through the next 15 minutes. Below are just a few ways that the Lord has been gracious to me today:
1) I read John 18 this morning about the chief priests coming to arrest Jesus on the night of His betrayal. After Peter cut off the ear of the chief priest’s servant, Jesus said, “Put your sword away, shall I not drink the cup My Father has given me?”. Jesus drank the cup of crucifixion for my sake. Shall I not drink this cup (of cancer) that the father has given me?
2) My wife has continually encouraged me throughout the day and helped me to think on what is true. I’m so impressed with how she has been so strong through this and is working so hard to support me. I see God purifying both of us in this.
3) The Otolaryngologist I was referred to (Dr. Futran) was initially not able to get me in for an appointment this week. Then after being persistent, I was able to get an appointment for Friday! In addition, a second option for surgeons came up because somebody that used to go to our church had the same type of cancer in stage 4 and survived. He told me how great his surgeon (Dr. Moore) was, and recommended that I go to him. So I’ll be able to get appointments for 2 opinions this week! One at the University of Washington and the other at Swedish Medical Center, both of which are well respected cancer centers.
4) I was able to get a short notice appointment for a CT scan of my neck today so I can bring the images to the Dr. Moore on Wednesday.
5) I talked to two cancer survivors today, Charlie and Dave. Charlie is the guy that referred me to his surgeon, and it was encouraging to know that he went through the pain and recovery process, and is now doing just fine. Dave was also treated for cancer at Swedish Medical center and seems to be doing just fine now.